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Windows 7 for Netbook optimization

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Hello all!

I Have not been here for a long time because i gave up my hobby of toying around with windows XP. I found it too time consuming. Now i found something new and shiny and i want to play with it for a while. If you wish you can join in and help me make the perfect Windows 7 for Netbook install.

I hope this thread might not become a bloated thread of people chatting away. I really hope this may be a thread which could serve as a decent reference for the future.

I have little to offer yet. I have had a look around the Forum and i have found some very interesting things that can be used here. The one to start with is of course the whole story of booting a USB Drive and installing Win 7 from there. Hint: its the same procedure as with Vista. Nothing new here. I have a guide ready in German covering two slightly different approaches which i think are the most sleak and slick approaches. I will file a translated version here later.

Second thing which is worth a note: Windows 7 responds to vLite very well already. There seem to be some bugs though. I have the impression that the calculation of expected size with removing components is somehow not right but it might also be me not understanding vLite system properly.

I have so far done this:

1: got my stick bootable

2: vLited Windows 7

3: transfered source files to stick

4: installed

what have i learned so far:

to 1: making a stick bootable turns out to be really tricky because it seems to be a matter of compatibility between stick controller and Bios. On my netbook it was never an issue but on my pc it was horrific.

to 2: removed as much as possible, ran into many installation errors, ended up with a disk that was reduced to somewhat like say 1.7 GB. Unfortunately removing more always led to some error. So what i took off was just basic things: Languages, Samples, Tablet PC input (Netbooks aint got no touch screen) and some little things like games, some very old drivers and such. no services - that always gave errors, no major components apart from Media Center (that caused no problem). Tweaks applied: only basic things like show opperating system files and hidden files.

unattended never really worked out - have not checked why because i didnt find it interesting yet.

to3: xCopy works a lot faster then the windows UI. No Secret. It is an integrated \system32\ tool in Vista, get its Params by typing xcopy /help at CMD. Am going to test Robocopy instead soon. Its expected to be even faster. Hint: get yourself a very fast USB Pendrive - saves you some Headaches.

to 4: installing windows 7 on a netbook is no fun. really. it takes about 4 - 6 hours. don't laugh. its true. it gets through the initial stages very fast if you have a fast drive but then it just seems to get stuck when its processing all the information and setting everything up. that makes about 90% of the time. I guess thats because my netbook has a very slow SSD and also i believe that the serial-cpu, that Atom-crap, is slowing things down badly. it can only work orders serial, not paralell. which is a pain. but probably the slow SSD is the main bottleneck. am going to change that. but thats a different story.

so what do i or we want now? I for sure want an Install that fits on a one GB Drive (will see if thats possible without crippling the system), an install thats opimized to run on limited hardware - so what about that freakin pagefile and hiberfile? they eat most of the space? and i want to know everything thats possible with windows 7 to reduce drive access. i will stay with SSD because that is the future so i will want to know and find out everything that makes windows leave that SSD alone as much as possible.

Friends, let the work begin! :D


Attached my Bootstick Guides (EN and DE). Hope you can do with the Translation attempt...



Edited by Sneakyghost

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I think the performance on a netbook depends highly on the type of system used. I have an ASUS EEE 1000HA with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive. Yes, the hard drive is a lot faster than most netbooks see, but for most tasks the CPU is still the bottleneck. Installing Win7 build 7070 only took about 30 minutes on this system, and since then performance has been great. Battery life is roughly on par with XP.

If you're trying to install Win7 on a system with one of those built-in 4/8GB SSD drives, I wish you luck. :)

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i did install it to SSD as mentioned and the install takes very, very long but it works really nice.

I found out that i have trouble now running office though. the current config with 512 Meg of ram wont allow office to start because windows 7 even as reduced as it is takes already approx. 400 megs.

i want to find out how to shrink that down. probably i wont get around upgrading the ram though.

unfortunately my holidays are over now and thus my work on that matter slows down a lot. will be back as soon as i have something to add here.

As for the bottleneck: i checked the USB Pendrive to SSD transfer rates over and over again. It doesnt go much beyond 2 Mbit, most of the time it stays below that and the CPU is not working much. so i belive those SSDs which ship with the netbooks currently are really crap. They are too slow by any means.


- with the latest release of Windows 7 (RC) i changed the mode of prepping my USB Bootstick. With a little free tool from Lexar called BootIt (some might know it) it is possible to convert a stick to a Local Hard Disk. This again makes it possible to format with NTFS. This, or changes in the new 7100 build sped up the install-speed to approx. 1,5 Hours :thumbup i cannot say which one caused this dramatic increase compared to the approx. 5 hours before...

- Driver Integration works well.

- Unattended does not work. Information on this can be found in the vLite section here on these forums.

[EDIT 2]

- Installed latest build. Upgraded RAM before. Installation goes a little faster now. Not much though.

- Noticed that no portable Office 2007 can be used. I tried Thinstall versions and other. Nothing works. All say they run out o Memory. This cannot be true though since there is always plenty left. Have not figured out the real reason.

- Noticed that Skype 4 permanently uses about 70% of CPU on the Atom under Windows 7. This is bad.

Edited by Sneakyghost

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Check out this post on netbook optimization: http://tinyurl.com/lcl2pz. Thought this might present some helpful tips for the thread. It also encourages readers to share their thoughts; you may want to comment on what you’ve learned about Windows 7 for netbook optimization.

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